Illini defense shines, especially Frazier

Sports

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Illinois held Purdue to it’s worst recorded field goal percentage in program history on Sunday night, in a 63-37 win. Trent Frazier has been a key piece in the Illini defensive turnaround, routinely guarding the opponents best player.

It took Purdue nearly seven minutes to score their first point, and 30 more seconds for their first field goal. By that time, Illinois already had an 11-0 lead, making it easy for the bench to get involved early.

“Just go in there and play. I’m not thinking of nothing specifically, I’m just going in there and giving my effort, my hard effort and and energy boost off the bench,” Alan Griffin said. “I’m not looking to do anything specific, just play hard.”

“It’s insane just how crazy, if you actually lock in on the scouting reports, what difference it makes,” Trent Frazier said. “When other teams are calling out plays and you’re calling it out, it kind of rattles them up a little bit and just knowing the spots on the court. When we’re locked in defensively as a team, we’re incredible.”

Part of the defensive effort was Frazier. He was tasked with guarding Purdue sharpshooter Sasha Stefanovic, who came into the game shooting better than 45% from three, with 75 attempts this season. He made two of his three attempts on Sunday, but only scores eight total points.

Frazier has taken his fair share of criticism this season, mainly because he’s not scoring as many points. But the Florida native has only turned the ball over 13 times all year, and has zero in the last three games. Offense isn’t his goal anymore, he wants to be known for his work on the defensive end now.

“I want to be one of the top defenders in the country, not even just the conference. My goal is to win All-First Team Defensive Team,” Frazier said. “Coach Gentry said no open looks tonight, and that’s what I wasn’t going to let them get, open looks.”

“It’s amazing what two years and how it can shift ones thinking. He understands it, he’s taking a lot of pride in it and he’s done that every year, I mean he’s done that every game this year,” Brad Underwood said. “He’s drawing the other teams best threat.”

“Guys that normally come into your program, they come in for minutes and they come in to play and they come in to shoot, and they originally grow into playing to win that game. You can see he’s doing a lot of little things to help his team win,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. “He’s not scoring as much but he’s still the same threat, at least in my opinion.”

Illinois travels to Wisconsin for their next Big Ten contest, Wednesday night at 8:00.

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